07 December 2009

The reporting of a new study illustrates how the public are misinformed

Supports Chapter One: Trick to Treat and Chapter 5: Fats - From Tonic to Toxic

A new study, published in the December 2009 edition of the medical journal, Gut, shows that linoleic acid, the major fatty acid in all 'healthy' vegetable margarines and cooking oils increases the risk of some serious intestinal conditions.

But that's only half the story. The other half is the way this study has been reported, not just in the news media, but also on 'health' websites.

Linoleic acid is found in the largest quantities in polyunsaturated vegetable margarines and cooking oils. But we have been told these are 'healthy', so this new study is proving to be a bit embarrassing. So what do they do? Easy, blame it on what 'we all know' is unhealthy: red meat - even though red meat contains very little linoleic acid!

Read the article here.


Byron said...

Dear Mr Groves,
its a shame as always.
Strangely I live best with red meat and have massive problems with everything "healthy"..
Thanks for your fortitude all the years. Best regards.

Sue said...

Dr Groves is it the pasture-raised animal meat you are referring to that has very low levels of omega 6 with grain-fed having a lot more?

Barry Groves said...

Hi Sue

Yes, it is.

While we are on this subject, the practice of feeding cattle on grain is hoplessly misguided.

Cattle don't use carbs for energy as we do; they rely on plant fibre (non-starch polysaccharides), which forms up to over 90% of the dry matter in grasses, to convert to short chain fatty acids for their energy supply. Plant fibre converts at about 2 kcals per gram.

When we eat starches and sugars, they are converted to, and absorbed as, glucose which supplies 4 kcals per gram. But, as the fermentation process in cattle is at the beginning of their digestive system, ALL carbs are so fermented. That includes the starches and sugars, and yields only 2 kcals per gram.

For this reason, the conversion rate from grass to meat is extrememly efficient, whereas the conversion rate for grains and soy into meat and fat is both extremely poor, and it changes the fat profiles of the meat. What should be a healthy saturated fat becomes an unhealthy more polyunsaturated fat. Unhealthy, not just for us who eat it but also for the cattle.


Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
George must lose weight said...

This site:


stresses how IMPORTANT it is to consume linoleic acid......

Barry Groves said...

Hi George

MS is a disease where the body's own immune system attacks body cells. It is this which causes damage to the myelin sheath around nerves, producing the symptoms of MS.

Polyunsaturated fats are immunosuppressive. As this recent study makes clear, polyunsaturated fatty acids suppress the immune system so that it reduces the attack on the myelin sheath.

BUT this is only trying to mitigate the symptoms; it doesn't address the cause of MS.

If MS is to be beaten, surely it is the cause that must be removed. My article on MS addresses possible causes.

Eating a lot of polyunsaturated fats to reduce a body's immunity to diseases and cancers might be of short-term benefit in MS and other autoimmune conditions, but medicine is replete with examples of where interfering with the body' natural defences can have unforeseen consequenses. I believe it is always better to attack causes rather than symptoms.


George must lose weight said...

Thank you Barry.


There is always a problem with studies - in that another one may contradict. This study:

Eur J Clin Nutr. 2005 Dec;59(12):1347-61.
Antioxidants and polyunsaturated fatty acids in multiple sclerosis.

van Meeteren ME, Teunissen CE, Dijkstra CD, van Tol EA.


"The risk of developing MS is associated with increased dietary intake of saturated fatty acids"


"Both dietary antioxidants and PUFAs have the potential to diminish disease symptoms by targeting specific pathomechanisms and supporting recovery in MS."

Barry Groves said...

Hi George

Unfortunately I don't subscribe to the European Journal of Nutrition so cannot read the whole paper. However, the statement that the risk of MS is increased by eating saturated fats doesn't fit with global patterns of MS incidence.

MS 'took off' and has increased in the real world only in populations where saturated fat consumption has fallen and been replaced with processed polyunsaturated vegetable oils. Confirming this is the fact MS is still rare or non-existent in populations eating traditional diets based on animal fats and tropical oils, all of which are saturated.

Anonymous said...

So long as one maintains low-carb and eats eggs, grass-fed meat with fat intact, coconut oil and the fat from very dark chocolate -- could one still enjoy nuts such as macadamia, hazelnut and almonds? I do not tolerate dairy well so use nuts and nut butters to up my fat intake.

Barry Groves said...

Hi Anonymous

I see no reason why you shouldn't. The saturation of the coconut oil should protect the polyunsaturates in the nuts.
Just bear in mind the carb contents.

Henry North London said...

Apparently lard has the highest concentration of linoleic acid

Grass fed pigs I guess

I wont eat meat that I think has been raised on grain I buy meat that is grass fed such as new zealand lamb or local farm grass fed lamb now

I have also flattened my stomach in two months by following a low carb high fat diet and virtually no exercise

Its wonderful

I also take plenty of Vitamin D as I have psoriasis which is completely quiescent at present

Yes I am a doctor One of the few that has looked into Stryer and realised that I had this knowledge all along.

Barry Groves said...

Hi Henry

I see Stryer is online now. My biochemistry textbook is quite old - I really must get up to date.

I'm glad that what you are doing works as it should.

I used to eat NZ lamb as well after ba fact-finding trip there, as it is as near to organic as one can get - and I didn't trust UK feeds. Now, however, a local farmer grass feeds all his cattle and sheep, so I buy local.

You are right that lard has a high linoleic acid (LA) content. It always was higher than in the fats of cattle or sheep - around 11%. But since pig feed laws came into force a few years ago to combat foot and mouth, pigs have to be fed a mix that is much higher in LA. Now I understand that lard's LA content can be as high as 30%.